Category Archives: Christian Walk

Hardscrabble Life

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arid barren clay cracks

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It’s a hardscrabble life.

Sometimes you just get blind-sided and have to right yourself. If you don’t have God to right you, what do you do? Where do you go? Who do you turn to?

I love (not really) how my health always seems to take a turn for the worse all at once.

“You have to have your stent blown out, or get a new one,” says my Cardiologist. The weird thing is, I never have any symptoms so statements like this come as a shock.

“Does your back hurt?” My Hematologist-Oncologist (Hem-Onc) asks.

“No, why?”

“The CT shows some new lesions and one is on your L3.”

My cancer is back. Active. No longer “stable and dormant” which I’d gotten used to saying when people asked me how I was doing.

A PET scan is ordered. A couple lesions in my lungs and one on my spine . . . confirmed.

Sigh. I’d been doing so well for the last year or so.

I close myself off in my room. “Lord?” I whisper. “Do we have to go through this again?”

I don’t hear anything, but He is close, I can tell. That comforts me.

We’ve been through this before, He and I. Then (in 2015) He settled me in His quieting, amazing, and profound peace and I know He will again.

Truthfully, I didn’t think I’d ever want for His peace again. I thought that once it was given, I’d always have it. And I probably do, it’s just that it’s been buried. Down deep in my soul. Covered by the good times, the glory days.

But I find that I do want no, need . . . no, crave . . . the everlasting peace of my Savior. I need it now. I need to be immersed in it again.

In John 14 Jesus is talking to the disciples in the Upper Room when He says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” (v. 14:27a)

Jesus gives us His peace. It’s no secret. There is no magic word to bring you the peace. He gives it. Freely. All we have to do is ask for it.

But what kind of peace does Jesus offer us?

In one of my favorite stories of the Bible, Jesus is asleep in the boat while the disciples are fighting a great windstorm that threatens to capsize the boat and kill them. They wake Jesus up wondering how He can be sleeping while they are about to perish. Jesus stands, maybe even yawns, and looks out to the storm saying, “Peace. Be still.” (Mark 4:39) The wind calms and the waves die down.

That, my friends, is some mighty awesome peace.

And that is the peace that Jesus gives us when we ask Him. When we think we’re drowning, when we can’t imagine the outcome, when all hope looks lost, when the winds threaten to capsize us.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” ~ John 14:27

I need your peace now, Lord. Thank you.

 

All of today’s Scripture references came from the ESV.

Old Clothes

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assorted clothes

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Isn’t it weird that we change what we wear based on where we live? Or is that just me?

I’m culling through a storage closet that I’ve had since I moved to Florida and finding clothing that has meaning from days gone by. These leather gloves with fringe I wore in Colorado. That suede jacket was my go-to winter coat in Arizona—unless it was raining. A black duster that today would be suggestive of a school yard shooter but that I wrapped around me for warmth on many a high mountain night.

I knew I was moving to Florida. I was smart enough to sell all my “Western-style” furniture. Why did I even bring these items along? Of course I thought I would eventually return to the West. But as the years stream by, that seems more and more unlikely.

College took me to Colorado and once there, I knew I wouldn’t leave. But I did, 15 years later I moved to Arizona. More Western wear – less weight. Still, I hung on to the gloves and the scarves and the hat and the duster and the boots from my days in the Colorado Rockies.

Deep into the bins I dig, each object taking me back into my past. To another place … to another me.

Even if I never leave Florida while on this earth, there will yet be another me.

The me I will become in heaven. My truest me. When it matters not all the clothes I’ve ever had in my life, I’ll be dressed in white. A bride for my groom.

And once again I’ll have changed my clothes based on where I live.

And I won’t be alone.

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands … ~ Rev 7:9 (NASB)

 

Salt ~ A Devo

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aerial photo of boat on sea

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I walked out of my South Florida home this morning and immediately realized that something was different. By the time I got to my car I was licking my lips. Salt. Through some strange atmospheric condition, the air was laden with salt from the Atlantic Ocean.

I drove all the way to church licking my lips and thinking about salt. Jesus told us we were to be salt and light to others (Matthew 5). It’s easy to know what being ‘light’ is, but how do I be salt? Salt melts snow. Salt seasons food.

Imagine my surprise when, during the service, the pastor zeroed in on Colossians 4 verses 5 and 6. “Be extraordinarily different from the world,” he said.

Considering the salt was on my lips, I believe God was reminding me about my speech. I silently thanked Him for reminding me to speak to everyone with grace and love. I looked around the church. It’s easy to be salt to other Christians. I need to be salt to every person I come in contact with. How delightful that He should remind me to be salt to others.

Memory verse:

Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. ~ Colossians 4:6 (HCSB)

Prayer Prompt:

Lord, help me to be salt in this world. Help me learn how to speak to others graciously and with your wisdom. Amen.

 

 

 

 

I’m Back!

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Did you miss me? I’m quite embarrassed that this is my first post in 2019 and it’s already the end of May. For shame!

I may have been away a long time, but I’ve been up to something good! Drum roll please!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1733908102I finally published my first book! WhooHoo! Streamers and noise makers!

Announcing “Are You Ready? The story of a runaway girl and a persistent God.” It’s my memoir and even if you’re not Christian, I think it will appeal to you because it’s just a good story (if I do say so myself!).

But I’m not the only one! It’s already received six 5-star reviews and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s taken me a long time to write . . . as a reader of my blog you know that two of the years had me battling cancer and I just couldn’t write when I was on chemo or taking radiation. I was much too weak.

But now I’m doing well, although not completely out of the woods yet, and I wanted you to know that the book was available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon. If you’re so inclined, just click the cover above and you’ll be transported to the right page. I’d love it, if after you read it, if you’d leave an honest review of what you thought. I can’t wait to hear what you say. I really think you’ll like it!

Love in the meantime . . .

Felecia

PS: if you’re in another country (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy or Japan) you can purchase it on your Amazon pages. And the Kindle version is available in those and even more countries (Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, and India).

Leading Others in Truth

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002In a bible study last year, we were talking about Ebenezers (or Remembrance Stones) and performed an exercise where we prayed, asking God to reveal to us a verse of Scripture that we could use on an Ebenezer . . . something He would like us to remember.

The Scripture the Lord impressed upon me was Titus 2:1 “But you must speak what is consistent with sound teaching. HCSB” This revelation made me sit up with a jolt. I had just finished telling a story to the group that was extra-biblical. The circumstances had happened to me and I identified them with God or being Godly, but there was no foundation for them in the Bible.

This was significant to me because I’m a true believer in the Bible. I have a friend who makes fun of me because I don’t believe everything she considers biblical when there just isn’t any basis for it in the Bible. It doesn’t bother me that she laughs at me, I decided a long time ago that I was only going to go toe to toe with people over salvation issues.

In Acts 17:11, when Paul and Silas had traveled to Berea, it says:  “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. NIV” We don’t seem to do this anymore. We listen to people say any such silly thing and we believe. If they say it, it must be true. Especially if the person is a pastor!

A friend of mine is in a Bible study group going through a book by a pastor from the Bethel church (Redding, CA). While he was telling me what he was learning, I thought I was listening to the writings of Shirley MacLaine. That’s how “out there” this pastor is … very new-agey. He didn’t call it the astral plane, but he has a notion that our spirits fly all over the place while we’re sleeping. I asked my friend to find biblical support for what the gentleman was teaching and he said he’d look into it. I’m fairly certain he won’t find any.

The writer of Hebrews said:  “Do not be led astray by diverse and strange teachings … Heb 13:9a ESV.” Please be wary of what you’re hearing and reading. Regardless if it comes from a local bible study leader, a friend, or a well-known pastor … does it fit within the teachings of the Bible? That is the only question that must be answered.

Believe only the truth.

End of the Sin Chronicles

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Seven Deadly SinsOr is it?

I’m sure I could go on regaling you with my sinning ways and I dare say you’ve thought about some of your own sins these past few weeks. Let us remember that we are all sinners. That we are not perfect. But that there is hope for us in Jesus Christ.

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus …” ~ Romans 8:1

Why not? Why aren’t we, Christ Followers, condemned because of our sin? Because we have a good and perfect God who died for us. To cleanse us. To forgive us when we repent. A God who through His death, broke the chains of sin that bind us. We have been gifted with the ability not to sin because we have the Spirit of God inside us.

I must remember that when the urge to sin overcomes me it’s not a forgone conclusion that I will sin.

My chains have been broken. 

And if you are in Christ – yours have too.

Prayer:

Lord. You said in 1 John 1:9 that ‘If we confess our sins, You are faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ Please never let this promise fade away. Continue to convict me when I think of sinning or do sin and then lovingly forgive me when I confess and repent of my sin. Thank you gracious Father. Amen.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Felecia

 

Breaking the Law #2

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This may be the sin I’m most ashamed to admit.Litter

I was at the gas station the other day and as I was getting in my car to leave, I tossed a crumpled receipt into the garbage can. At just the right second, a gust of wind caught hold of the paper and propelled it onto the ground. I looked at it sitting there on the pavement, closed my door and drove away.

Littering.

I have not littered since I stopped smoking many years ago. I was one who threw my butts out the window – disgusting, I know.

Driving home I shook my head in dismay. Why didn’t I just pick up the receipt and return it to the trash? Laziness. Slovenliness. As I write this today, I still can’t believe that I littered. It’s such a vile thing.

Prayer:

Lord, forgive me for my laziness. Help me to be more conscientious about my actions and to continue to obey the laws of the land. In doing so, I obey and honor you. Amen.

Let’s finish this up on Friday! I’m dying to drink in the Lord’s forgiveness.

See you then!

Felecia

 

 

Greed

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GreedIf you happened to ask me if I had a tendency to be greedy, I’d probably say no, and believe I was telling you the truth. But what occurred the other evening set me back and the Lord convicted me of yet another “respectable” sin.

I was sitting with my parents at our favorite Italian restaurant. We’d ordered pizza and had eaten through to the last two pieces on the silver platter. I checked-in with my belly, yup, I could definitely have another piece. Knowing my Dad, I knew he could eat another piece too. I surveyed the remaining two pieces on the dish. One was bigger than the other. I licked my lips. How could I nonchalantly get that big one onto my plate?

That’s when the conviction hit me.

What was I doing?

It surely was greed that made me want the bigger piece. And I could probably have added gluttony to the list if I’d carried through with my plans. But after silently thanking the Holy Spirit for calling me up short before I sinned, I slid the smaller piece onto my plate and left the big one for my father.

Greed comes in many different shapes and sizes. I was stunned when I realized that greed had so easily pushed me to think in such a manner.

Prayer:

Lord, you’ve shown me that my selfishness makes me greedy. Thank you for stopping me before I sinned in my greed. Please forgive me and continue to make me a better person. Amen.

Next up on Wednesday. Hope to see you then!

Felecia

Breaking the Law #1

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I speed.Speed Limit 65

There, I’ve admitted it. I don’t seem to go anywhere under 80 miles an hour.

“But,” you say. “So do I. That’s not a sin, is it?”

Believe me when I tell you that if we break the law of the land – it’s a sin. We must obey authority. In Romans 13:1 Paul states:  “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.”

To get home, I drive a road whose speed limit begins at 40, moves to 35, and then to 25 miles an hour. Not very many people adhere to these rules and when they do I find myself struggling to stay off their six – sometimes eliciting angry looks in the rear-view mirror or finger-pointing at the speed limit sign as we drive by.

I travel this road daily. Usually at 55, 45, and 30 respectively. A couple months ago I decided to drive the road at or below the posted speed limits. It was excruciating! Almost unbearable. Had I done this to myself? Broken the law so often that I couldn’t comfortably keep the law?

So I decided to spend seven days adhering to all posted speed limit signs to see if I could reverse the trend.

You’d be surprised at how easily I was able to adhere to this new way of driving! The first few days I did find myself pushing a little harder than was necessary on the accelerator, but by day three, it actually became fun to go slower. I was amazed that driving the speed limit in the right lane on the highway was so less stressful. On day four I considered myself a right-old fogey as other people honked, waved certain fingers at me, and crossed double yellow lines to get around me.

So now, a week or so later, where am I? Even with my lead foot, I have managed, without to much thought, to not be too far above the speed limit, if at all. And I could only do that with the help of the Holy Spirit! Thank you, Holy Spirit!

Prayer:

Lord, help me to obey the laws of the land and in doing so, obey and honor you. Amen.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday.

Felecia

Gossip

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GossipGossip is defined as:

  1. idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others
  2. light, familiar talk, or writing.1

If you’re maturing in Christ it’s very possible that you no longer gossip. We probably all did it pre-Christ.

There’s something very naughty and dangerous about gossip, passing secrets about another person. It’s a little thrilling. But now it’s easy to see the destructive nature of gossip and I’ve worked very hard to not let gossip pass my lips.

A while ago I was sitting around a dinner table with 9 other people when the ladies on either side of me started to gossip over me. I listened until my stomach turned over and then spoke up. I whispered to the one on my right, believing that I had a modicum of influence over her and said, “I don’t think you should be gossiping.” She reared back as if I’d struck her and retorted, “It’s not gossip if it’s true.”

Huh?

But it was gossip and as the ladies continued talking about another woman who was not at the table, I shut down my ears and started praying that God would stop them.

Unfortunately, I didn’t do so well the other day when I found myself around some people who were gossiping and I did nothing. I didn’t mention that they were gossiping. I didn’t try to stop them from gossiping. I didn’t get up and walk away. I simply sat there and listened.

Do we participate in gossip by NOT saying something or taking some other action? Methinks, yes. I certainly didn’t feel very good about the whole situation afterward. The Holy Spirit was convicting me.

Silence is acquiescence. Silence in the face of sin is approval of that sin.

Prayer:

Lord, please keep a guard on my mouth and do not let me make idle talk about another person. Please step in when I’m caught between gossips. Help me to say and do the right thing. Amen.

On Friday … One of my worst sins … and I bet yours too!

See you then!

Felecia

 

1 http://www.dictionary.com/browse/gossip?s=t